Database is up and ready to be filled with information which is a good start considering I haven’t touched databasing since first year. I’m also taking some online YouTube classes on PHP to brush up on my skills.
Note: Still waiting on anyone to call me back L
We decided to use an Android app to scan the barcode and as I didn’t want to code one from scratch we decided on adapting an existing one. The Zxing Google Barcode Scanner is the one I personally use and is the highest downloaded from that category. To boot it was completely open source!
I also have begun work on designing the interface. Sam is taking care of the research side of this and I am concentrating in putting it together at the moment so I have put that to one side for now. I’ve created space and databases on my web server which should be more than enough to store any information we need.
After waiting a few days for people to get back to me, I tried a different approach and called The Independent and left another message and then The Guardian which didn’t have anything for me so I tried Which? as well and left another message. Finding this is becoming rather irritating.
I decided not to get down and concentrate on something I can get i.e. the nutritional information side. I found that Tesco had an open source API and began looking through it to get it to work.
Today I just called around various companies (Nestle, ADSA, Coleman’s) to find out any details like cost of ingredients in comparison to how much they sell it for. Unfortunately all of them refused to give me any information over the phone and told me everything public they had was on their corporate website which had insufficient information for what I was looking for.
I then search for ‘food news investigators’ online and found agra-net.com who I couldn’t get hold of, but left a message with my details.
I started work on the web page interface for our project. It’s coming along, but it’s been a while since I had done any web design whatsoever let alone making sure it was mobile compatible. I used Fennec which emulates Firefox Mobile for Android (my primary phone browser) so I could see how it looked. So far it’s coming along slowly but surely.
We also after a group discussion decided to focus on both health effects and finding negative press for these products. Our mission statement is as follows:
This app is designed to show you the stuff manufactures don't put on the label of their products.
After chatting with Gianni, he reminded us that we needed to think of a problem first, and then come up with a solution after. Taking this on, we came up with some problems that we could use, while still keeping in the theme of QR and barcodes.
Here are our notes from our brainstorm:
Problems to solve & answers with project:
- Some products travel too far across the world to arrive in shops, causing more CO2 to pollute the atmosphere.
- Show how far products have travelled
- Show alternative, more local product
- CO2 saved
- People can pick up fatty foods by accident in supermarkets
- Show all calories, fats, sugars, etc. info
- Find healthier product
- Packaging effect on environment
- Is it recyclable?
- If you recycle, how much are you saving the planet?
- Cheaper & Greener product?
- Price comparison
- Not recycling, want CO2 heavy product. How can I help another way?
- Plant a tree?
- What’s popular in your area? How eco-friendly are people in your area?
- Leader board?
- Radar chart visualisation
- Facebook/Twitter integration
- News related to product
- Negative production?
- iPad in China…
For our final project of this module, I teamed up with Sam Stein and was told to make a project that would display the immaterial. We had a brainstorm of ideas in the first week and decided QR codes and barcodes might be fun to play with.
Both of these technologies all are a link to information and are already widespread around the world, so we wanted to make use of that. Here are our notes from the first session:
- Where it’s come from
- People that also like it
- On social networks
- Around you
- Where it’s come from
- How much it cost to make
- People that also like it
- On social networks
- Around you
Here is our final image for this project. The blue circles in the image represent Wi-Fi spots and their size correlates to the strength of the signal measured on my phone. We also used red and yellow blocks to represent the busier areas of Drake Circus. Yellow for mildly busy, and red for busy. These results were collected upon two visits to Drake Circus; once on a Thursday afternoon and once on the following Saturday early afternoon.
This module paired us with some second and third year Architecture students and were given a lecture by their lecturer who talked about mapping spaces by defining important areas by objects and the use of people in ‘the space’.
Our assignment is to use Drake Circus as the area to map out with the immaterial objects. In our group, we decided to map the Wi-Fi in the area.
As a group, we visited the area and collected data. We stood around Drake Circus and using my phone we collected the strength of each Wi-Fi router and kept a record from both upstairs and downstairs. We gave the strength of the Wi-Fi spot a value; 1 for low and 4 for high.
We also examined the traffic of people in the space and recorded people’s trends, logging if an area was a main walking through area and where people congregated most and noted it down on our map.
While researching this information we were asked by a security guard to go upstairs to the corporate area as the guard ‘was suspicious of where we got our map from’. However after speaking to the general manager telling him we got it from the uni, we were ok to leave.
First of all, we presented our project to our peers giving them all a quick presentation of our app. The presentation went well. I did most of the talking with Tom talking about the code and Scott chipping in with important stuff that I had forgotten mid presentation :/. The presentation can be found here:
We then went down to Devonport and I was very presently surprised that it wasn’t going to be a proper presentation like we gave to our peers, but more of an exposition which sounded fun. The architects brought down some high-visibility jackets and hard-hats as our project was ‘demolishing’ buildings, so I took the chance to dress up with great enthusiasm and wore both all day as I thought it would bring people over to our table because I was dressed up and looking ridiculous.
We had a few people come over and one guy from the council really liked it and jokingly I asked him for his email so I could send him all these complaints about the building and he accepted!
The app is done! It is currently under ‘Testing’ so it is not available to the public yet however it should be in the next few days.
Changes we have made to the original brief are that due to our programming restraints, it being on a mobile device which if using 3G would take a considerable amount of time to load and because uploading videos we could have made to the page would have slowed down the app a great deal in general, upon hitting the selected building it takes you to a web page giving you a second chance to change your mind with an interesting factoid about the building. If the user decides to go ahead with destroying it, a web page with a video of a building being destroyed is displayed and then to the comment form to say why it has been destroyed.
Next time, we a presenting this project to the public. Something I haven’t done before so this will be scaring me greatly.
As of yet, things have started but are not yet complete. Some of the Layar stuff is good and some of the graphics are done. So to test some of the features that Tom had already put into place, we headed down to Devonport to make sure all of the buildings we had chosen correctly matched the GPS coordinates fed into the project.
After going down there, there were a few bugs to report from the location. Fortunately it was just a case of ‘the target should be the other side of the road’ or ‘left a bit’, so after calling Tom and him updating the code we could see it was fixed so we could come back.
We decided to use Layar, an app that ‘overlays’ information onto the real world for this project. Using this, the user could click on a target which was related to the building by GPS coordinates, shoot it and the app would make it like the building has disappeared. The user would be redirected to a .php page which would allow the user to comment on why they wanted to destroy the building and send the information to a page with all these comments.
As my .php skills are not up to standard, Tom Saunders will be taking the lead programming role on this project and Scott & I will be splitting designing the styling and graphics for the project.
After having a week or so of brainstorming, the architecture students came up with the idea of using your phone or device to walk around the Devonport area, select which buildings you disliked and replace them with building you did, which was based on The Sims game.
We talked to the Architecture students and told them that within the time constraints we had for this project, alongside other projects we had, this was simply not possible.
We discussed a compromise idea which was to walk around Devonport and select which of the buildings you didn’t like, from a selection, and ‘digitally demolish’ them and have this knowledge stored on a page that could be sent around the community and to people that would have power to change this i.e. people from the council.
They liked this idea so we started work.